Animal Skin

by David Roos

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(free) 04:23
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credits

released July 20, 2009

All instruments and vocals - David Roos

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David Roos Palm Springs, California

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Track Name: Peppermint Rosehip Tea
Silver flask heavy with something hot
Peppermint rose hip tea
Filled it up but I forgot
It’s best to rinse it out in between
Cause you never know, you never know

Authentic-looking leatherette
Permanent, or so you might think
Filled it up but I forgot
It’s best to try to use indelible ink
Cause you never know, you never know

A narrow stretch of sand and seagrass
Separate these rocks from the mainland
This high tide will place us on
An island by tomorrow morning
There’s only exists a narrow window of time
When you can cross over to the side you want
Then the water washes in, and little fish float over fading footprints

Canvas stretched tight round a white pine frame
There’s an empty silver flask, for the turpentine
Filled it up but I forgot
To make sure the window’s cracked
Before you paint a line
Cause you never know, you never know
Track Name: Past Present Future
At this point in time, we haven’t even reached the beginning
That piece of the horizon wasn’t even the starting line
We better find a dry place to wait out what’s coming
By the side of the road, under the off-ramp we passed an hour ago

If it’s written in Hindi, Thai, Sanskrit, Aramaic, or Tibetan
You can add an extra color for eight-five dollars more
It will last a little longer here in this world than your conscious mind will
Maybe only a day or two, until it too will turn into to ashes
Which will form back into words as they settle on the ocean floor

To calibrate the moment sparks ignite what the flame engages
To certify and document this hypothesis for all to see
Categorize and relegate and reconsider, and constantly revise
What is seen, laid in one good hand, and mirrored in the other
Track Name: Dinosaur Bones
Turn the lights on, the shadows have grown
To the longest point, and then disappear
It’s cool and quiet
And we can feel what settles beneath our feet tonight
That this connection to all that has been
Could be covered for so long, and then reappear
It makes me wonder
And makes me want to see,
If there is anything else, under there

I’m spending most of my time digging up dinosaur bones
Brushing off the dirt and the dust
From these pieces of dried-up calcium
Separating the stacks, from the first bit of bone to the last
Label what is already there, and count them all
And then begin replacing them

Deeper water, not worth the bother
If you’re lying on a sandbar on a windless day
Changing patterns, and various translations will add a few additional ingredients
Put away that pick and shovel, unless you are the devil
And you’ve come along bringing, the things of which we’re singing
Controversy,
We’ve seen it all before
And so I hang a sign, outside my front door

Spending most of my time, digging up dinosaur bones
Brushing off the dirt and the dust
From these pieces of dried-up calcium
And then I start
Replacing them
Track Name: Barometer
Even with the falling barometric pressure
You can’t always depend on
A change in the wind’s direction
The cloud cover is unchanging
It’s quiet—this won’t be lifting fast
Seems to gather every morning
Despite what has been forecast

If you’re sure to leave open a window or two
The worst of the storm is sure to pass right through

A rock in the river -- A cloud in the sky
A band of green in the sunrise
Means you should try to not miss your flight

A rock through the broken glass
A cloud reflected in the shards
A fence that wasn’t built to last separates our back yards
Track Name: Iron Ore Miner's Grandson
I am not a coal miner’s daughter
I’m not what passes for that kind of a poetic thing
More like a stolen timepiece
Given to an iron ore miner’s grandson
And then given away

I am not the missing line
In a mistranslated play
Like gasping fish on a paper clip hook
The little one that got away
I’ll never be counting my blessings here
I will never retrace these steps
How could I not want something different
When I am given so much less


I am not the apple in your lunch box
To be taken out when you need a prop for your William Tell
To stand and radiate
Like a good, brave iron ore miner’s grandson
These things never end up well

And if I am shot at fifty paces
I will not be rising from this tomb
Just to find myself riding on the tracks into the mine
Even if I see they have a little extra room

If you end up where you start at
Catch, release
Hold out that one note till the last measure

Even if you think you see me
Standing in boots, on a chair in the back row
I close my eyes to block out the sun
Till I can't see anyone
Track Name: Animal Skin
Sew me up in an animal skin and throw me into the river
From the middle of an iron bridge
Place me on a simple bamboo raft
And float me on the circling water
Toward a gentler current, toward a gentler current
Tie me onto a raven’s tail
And clap your hands like this
To encourage a magnificent flight
Set flame to the juniper branch
Bound with knots of colored cloth
And turn your head as a row of sparks makes its way to your down-turned eye

I will dig a hole, deep into the sand
I will not look up until I hit the bottom
Not until the time I reach the rocky layer
That separates us from what came before

Build a platform out of dry wood
Build it taller than the highest eye that will look this way
Make it strong enough to hold the weight
Of a lifetime that no longer carries much
Listen for the horn, and listen for the drum
Listen for the chorus of voices
And listen for a last ringing bell
And wait to be carried away

I’ll hardly even notice, I’ll hardly even notice
Animal skin can swim, animal skin can swim
Track Name: Suspicious Highways
Take away the drum and the bass
Take away everything that hasn’t been nailed down
And we’ll all settle down without a sound
Carving out a bit of space
Separating all that is permanent
From the things that rise and fall
Nothing

Minnesota summer can make you start to wonder if the blueprint’s faded back
California thunder breaking out from under all that’s been created fast

And we don’t know what we’re going to find
Everything is flying
Walking down these dead end streets
And driving down suspicious highways

Take away the time and the place
Take away everything that hasn’t been roped off
And we’ll just stand and wait
Writing out names and dates
Looking through the clues for evidence
Of the things that rise and fall
Nothing

Minnesota summer can make you start to wonder if the blueprint’s faded back
California turnaround and finish what was left around the last time we kept track

And I don’t know what we’re going to find
Everything is flying
Walking down these dead end streets
And driving down suspicious highways
Track Name: Riding Wordless
Whenever I am carried along
Long forgotten, like a rock in your pocket
Deep inside I can not see
But I feel every step that is taken

Sometimes in the middle of the place where I know I have fallen
I forget I can balance, I forget I can uncover my eyes
Riding wordless, the dial set in dead center
Riding wordless, the level is halfway between left and right

And if I sometimes lack a little bit of concentration
Well I make up for it in other convincing ways
If you get a little in over your head,
Sometimes you get to float
And as you drift along you get to catch up on the episodes
You missed when you were doing time in summer school
The names have all been changed
Don’t worry, we’ll all be protected

To get where I’m going I don’t need to sell the most subscriptions
I don’t need to play the trumpet, or pretend I can walk in step
To get where I’m going I don’t need to know what, I’m heading for
And in its own time the red line will find true magnetic north
Track Name: A Machine For Living
A machine designed for living is a wonder to behold
A desert dream ranch in every direction
Color coordinated, climate controlled
In the future we’ll learn to amalgamate
All our hopes (and dreams) into one
Set up shop, use a different name
Trade future worries for what others before us, have done

Every thing will glow from within
Everything will be spinning

Keep a copy, in case they start running out
We’ll need more than several, at least that’s what we’re told
Availability, but limited interest
If you don’t see it on the shelf, it must be sold

Every thing will glow from within
Everything will be spinning

A machine designed for living, a kind of habitat to behold
Suburban dream ranch in every direction
Color coordinated, climate controlled
In the future we’ll learn to amalgamate
All our hopes (and dreams) into one
Set up shop, under a different name
Trade future worries for what others, before us, have done
Track Name: Cross + Crown
Is it safe or out of bounds
We all get paid to sing along
And memorize the revisions that are made
Breathing out a line of gospel spirit
Filled with love or something near it
Until we sing again the words that we just heard

Stretching miles across the night time
Pointing toward, a starry blacktop
Between radio signals, across country roads
I am taken, for an hour
Back inside, here and now or
I am waiting in the car

Roll up your program into an x-ray telescope
Hold it up to your one open eye, tilt your head back-- “who is there?”

Do we sing, should we dance
I’ll just sit here, in my hemmed short pants
With my sweater, buttoned with the cross and crown

While black crows watch over
Black crows, watch over me

Is it safe or out of bounds
We all get paid to sing along
And memorize the revisions that are made
Breathing out a line of gospel spirit
Filled with love or something near it
Until we sing again the words that we just heard
Track Name: Midwest Indispensable
Five, Four, Three, Two, One
Light up the fuse, and then back away
Energy travels, travels at the speed of something quick,
Something small and determined
Something that has not had to mend a lot of fences
Something that has not had to try to prove itself
Indispensable, indispensable
Something that is seen in two or more places at the same time
Energy travels

An image in the sky
An image that stretches from right to left
The storyline is familiar, but compelling
All across the sky
Dimensional Midwest drive-in screen
An image that is seen in two or more places at the same time
All across the sky

Left eye covered in blue, right eye -- seeing through red
Energy travels, all across the sky
Dimensional Midwest drive-in screen
All across the sky

What is the part, the one part near the end
One silent moment, one longing pause
Before the camera pans back,
And everyone’s name appears
For one silent moment

What part is it, what part is it
What part is
Indispensable, indispensable
Track Name: Transistor
Not a word from the Sunday choir
Not a word from the people back at home
No regrets, but I’m feeling tired

My tray-table up, my lap belt buckled
In 14F, my eyes are closed tight
Thirty-one hundred feet high over Canada

I am riding on a swarm of yellow-jackets
A transistor radio in a thermos

Nothing back from the satellites
Nothing left, but our transmission
Forever retelling all our scripted words
And reminding us of everything that we ever did desire

Powering ancient engines tonight
Reaching wide these feathered wings in flight
Holding on as we come a little closer
Holding on as we come up to our full height

And mark the wall, and smile because we know
We have done this, and it is permanent
We have done this, and now everyone will see
That we are standing here, breathing, finally, and we have no regrets

I have never been afraid of fire, I have never been afraid of heights
But I have always been certain, that I should be
Consequently I’m surrounded with reminders
And I am currently trying to set the record straight

I am riding on a swarm of yellow-jackets
A transistor radio in a thermos

Nothing back from the satellites
Nothing left, but our transmission
Forever retelling all our scripted words
And reminding us of everything that we ever did desire
Track Name: Trompe l'Oeil
Always pixelated, never mistaken for a masterpiece
Oversaturated, but don’t you love the way it fools the eye
In the centerpiece, blueberries and ripening watermelon
Divert attention

Have you noticed the way one room leads into the next
How the light separates in random patches in between wallpaper roses and leaves
A single light ahead of you, a point of reference, a point of view
One place is less quiet naturally

Window with a curtain, window with a frame
Window with a title, window with a shade
Perspective makes its point before it vanishes

In the spirit of completeness, and full disclosure, much more will be revealed when it gets colder
Be sure to check the date on the kitchen towel calendar
Until then, honeybees cover the lavender

One answer begins to spill out before you can even take a guess
Feathers fall from a frame, until they cover the marble floor
Track Name: Another Roof
There is a little key
I keep it at the end of a long chain
I’m not really sure if it opens anything anymore
But when I’m in trouble, I can walk up to any door
Put the key into my hand, and I don’t have trouble no more

I never even notice this chain as it hangs around my neck
Featherweight satellite, on this equator so light
Circling my thought, my action, my presence,
Everything I ever feel or see
Invisible to others, and usually to me

I go out back to the alley, when I need to look around
Get my neighbor’s ladder and climb right onto the roof

If I need to come back down, I might notice something’s missing
Always best to ask first, before you count on borrowed stairs
But it don’t really matter, I can stay up here for many days
There’s always another roof, somewhere further up there

There’s always another roof, somewhere waiting to be found
There’s always another ladder, when I need to look around
Track Name: Watermark
Perforated watermark, tattoo on your trigger finger
I’m just here cause it’s cold
Covered up in tin foil, not a lot of light gets in
What used to be for sale now is sold

Wishing before you were born, California navel orange
But you had to lose ‘em at the table
Cinderella, out of breath, tell the story with the rest
I’ll try to get this out if I am able

Nebraska farm boy
Running to the promised land
Will play this all by ear
Without any practice

Rising with the mercury, Euclidean geometry
Any two points can be joined
By a road or a line, an air-conditioned lucky find
It’s easy if you learn to work the system

Rev the engine, pop the clutch
We really don’t get out too much
It’s best to read in only two dimensions

Take some time if you’d like
Close the cover before you strike
Let’s forget that this was mentioned

A wildfire’s burning
Racing through the promised land
With sand castle buckets and shovels
And not enough practice
Track Name: Outlaw
Happened once on a night like this
Happened once when all things seemed a lot like this
Happened once on a night like this
Happened once when all things seemed a lot like this

He stood around like a loud sound around the corner
Didn’t seem to feel it too much then
A subtle pull toward a backlit shadow
Holding my heart in his outlaw hand

I was just curious, or too knowing of the outcome
I was just making it all up as I took my ride
Just believing what I forgot, just living what I forgot
Just seeing enough to stay in line
Stay within the lines
Track Name: Something More Than Rain
Would it be enough to match the innocence of one
Who might turn back when the light’s just turned to green
All that can be said when the innocence is enough
To pull a quick reflection from a moving dream

Would you feel the hand, or a thundering of horses
Or the riders with their compass pointing to the southern cross
Would you understand that the whole thing with innocence
Is losing the knowledge of what’s already lost

You see it standing under the aspen trees
With a porch light smile on its lips
Colored in the layers of many layered countries
And the brightest light, still leaves some parts revealed

But these trees never help much in a rainstorm
And with the knowledge of what’s on fire
There is something more than rain to be wary of
You got something more than the rain on your mind
Track Name: Touching Fire
Driving out, I am covered with the chances
And I hear just what I felt that time that you told me to
Take good time, better take good money
Find your pen and your alibi
And to never know what you could never see
I’ve heard it’s up to you

Like an edge touching fire, like a wheel touching water
I do not see, I do not hear, a day running dry
Like the wind touching earth, or like me when I touch the sky
I might not speak of even feel, I might not know completely

All at once, I might just look down at myself, and feel just like I felt
Before I was living in this body
A time and place sometimes you go, and you might not even recognize
But to hear a name and recall its face, it’s not always the same

Take your time as you’re flying through these starry fields
Seems you’re hearing once again just what you’re meant to hear there
Sometimes you know, and sometimes you see
It even might come back again
But listen for it when you can
One time it might feel true
Track Name: The Next Turn
You’ve heard it said you were young some time ago
You’ve held the black and whites that prove it’s true
But to take a look now, and see what’s lying in between
The softest grey, the deepest black
The torn-in-half smiles

There’s an open book lying in another room
And a map you find you get to leave behind
I might just give it all and to the edge we’ll go
Take what we find, leave what we can
For your time, in your hands

I’m taken in
I know it’s true
You might be overly cautious sometimes
But you make it through

I’m too tired to see and I’m always wanting more
And to say the least, I’m not very sure
But it’s always just like what you might have done
So it goes, so we live
So the next turn comes
Track Name: To The Iowa Side
Let’s say you were born in Denver in 1963
You might stay forever, or at least til you turn three
You might take off for Oklahoma, or head north to Omaha
And by the time you learn to read what’s right
You’ll be off somewhere not too far

On Sundays I would ride in the back seat of the Dodge
Across the slowest river, over to the Iowa side
I’d look out to where some people come from
Through the rows of green
Watch the smoke rising, and the fires burning the ditches clean

If you take one step
If you take one step, you’ll be asked to take a thousand

When a fire is burning, it’s best not to stand too still
When you’re opened to your weakness, wisdom comes as wisdom will
And when a heart is worried, pray to the saints of casualties
And look in all directions and see what you can see

Cause nobody is going to tell you
You get to find out for yourself
Track Name: All Things Are Connected
I might take it in
And I might just lose this like an arrow
Pointed toward a hole in the wind

When it all gives up
And goes wondering or stops trying
I find good company dancing by

And telling every story and writing it all down
And knowing what’s forever on your side
You’ve seen it look so careless and spiraling and wild
And still never get to see what you’ve been shown
Or what you might find

If you break at all
Or if one event tells the story
Taken much too far, easily

If all things are connected
And what’s left is left there standing
Just take that road again, travelling by

You can close your eyes one at a time
And press your hand down on a map
And trace your outline over half the world
Covering mountains, oceans, and whole continents
One touch equals more than a page can hold

If all things are connected
And what’s left is left there standing
Just take that road again, travelling by

And telling every story and writing it all down
And knowing what’s forever on your side
You’ve seen it look so careless and spiraling and wild
And still never get to see what you’ve been shown
Or what you might find
Track Name: Material Territory
No time to gently steam it open
No time to fold it back into place
I was given a map of some kind
But I don’t know the way to take it out of my pocket

Look to the stars, or look to the bird that flies
Or see, which way, you feel, the wind is leading
I know we were all born in Spirit
But somehow we were raised in Material Territory
We live, we breathe in Material Territory right now

If you are born with a sense of patience and respect
You can always get along with your family, your sister, your brother
If you keep enough, if you take the time to remember
You can always get along, you can always get along

We were all born, born in Spirit and
We were all given a boat of some kind
And we were all given some wide water to get ourselves across
We are all seeing our way through Material Territory, right now

A final call, a saving grace
Take it in, make some calls, and sleep until tomorrow
All stays safe, all stays quiet
If you’ll remember it all started this way when all was so easy with nothing required of you
Track Name: 25 Random Things About Me
Even today, I’d have to say
I’m seeing more but taking less in
Sleeping sycamores and empty stores
That line the sidewalks of this town
We’re travelling together

Patience with memory, travel, and spirit
It’s an hour later than it was last time
Turn the volume from twenty to zero
There’s something in the stillness we can find
And try to not let go of
These results may not be typical

If I should say, I miss the way
The moon would always cover up an empty field
When you can see, more sand than sea
You know that the crushing wave is on its way
We’re travelling together
These results may not be typical
Track Name: For Sale By Owner
Saw a sign on a house, ‘bout a thousand years ago
7775, yeah I forget the rest
A thousand trails from a thousand stars will light up this sky tonight
And we will sleep, and we will dream

Sweet and sour is the color of the sky on an endless day
Infinity cyan with a drop of two of cyanide
Get your sunglasses on, find the keys to the car and take a spin around the culdesac
Saw a sign on a house

Sell the house, this is a scary place
Forward all the mail, to a better place
The new residents will never suspect what they’re likely to find
The new residents will be stumbling on pieces of a puzzle that we left behind


Which walls are hollow, you’ll never know til you go back in
Well, you first—I’ll follow
Go ahead, let the fun begin
By the time we get back out to the corner
There’ll be a new sign—For Sale By Owner
And we will sleep, and we will dream

Sell the house, this is a scary place
Forward all the mail, to a better place
The new residents will never suspect what they’re likely to find
The new residents will be stumbling on pieces of a puzzle that we left behind

So put a new bulb in the night light
And cover your eyes
All things will be--as they were
Go to sleep, I can tell you’re getting tired

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